Aircraft, warships on standby to respond to Cyclone Yaas
India has placed its military aircraft and warships on standby for rescue and relief ahead of Cyclone Yaas making landfall on the country’s eastern coast on May 26, officials familiar with the development said on Sunday. Army, navy and coast guard relief teams are also ready to get deployed to assist the civil authorities at short notice, the officials said.
The Indian Air Force has kept one C-17, one IL-76, three C-130s, four An-32s and two Dornier transport aircraft on readiness for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ashish Moghe said on Sunday. “Additionally, 11 Mi-17 V5s, two Chetaks, three Cheetahs, two Dhruvs and seven Mi-17 helicopters are also on alert for any eventuality,” he said.
As of Sunday, the IAF has airlifted 950 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel and 70 tonnes of cargo from Jamnagar, Varanasi, Patna and Arakonnam to Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Port Blair in 15 aircraft.
The navy, which was at the centre of rescue and relief efforts in Arabian Sea in the aftermath of Cyclone Tauktae, has also shifted into overdrive to respond to the situation likely to unfold along the eastern coast. The armed forces have commenced preparations to mitigate the impact of Cyclone Yaas, the defence ministry said.
“The Indian Navy, fresh from HADR and rescue operations on the western coast, has moved 10 HADR pallets to Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, while five HADR pallets are ready at Port Blair. Eight ships of the Eastern Naval Command and Andaman and Nicobar Command have been embarked with HADR bricks (relief material) to provide succour to the people likely to be impacted,” the ministry said in a statement.
Four diving teams and 10 flood relief columns are ready at Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Chilika for providing assistance to the civil authorities at short notice, the officials said. Also, seven flood relief teams and two diving teams are ready at different locations in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Naval aircraft and helicopters in Vishakhapatnam and Port Blair are on alert to carry out search and rescue missions, the officials said.
“Eight flood relief columns and three engineer task Forces of the Indian Army are ready for immediate deployment on requisition by the civil administration. The armed forces are in constant touch with the civil administration of the affected states. Armed forces teams are aware of the need to keep the road and rail links open to ensure uninterrupted supply of life saving oxygen and drugs required for treatment at Covid-19 hospitals,” the statement added.
The ministry said the Indian Coast Guard has also mobilised its assets. “All ashore, afloat and aviation units are on high alert and ICG ships and aircraft have been deployed in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea,” said another statement,
“In addition, 31 coast guard disaster relief teams with inflatable boats, lifebuoys and lifejackets are on standby. Medical teams and ambulances have also been kept on standby for swift mobilisation,” it added.